Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Anemone of the People

Windflower on Williams River

In an attempt to "Know My Spring Ephemerals," I've been spending some time with lenses, keys, and field guides this year. That's why I can say with some confidence that this lovely white flower, so abundant last weekend on the Williams River, is a wood anemone (also windflower, Anemone quinquefolia). You may recognize a few ramp leaves in the background.

This flower was, however, the second one I hunkered down to photograph. The first windflower offered me the surprise below--a snowy white crab spider dining on a would-be pollinator. Notice the pink bars on the spider's side--these correspond to the pink edges of the anemone's petals while still in the bud. I'm accustomed to see golden crab spiders hiding on late summer asters and goldenrod, but this cryptic anemone spider was a new one for me.

Cryptic crab spider eating a pollinator on a windflower


Dave said...

Damn, you scooped me! I got a picture of the same species of crab spider hanging on the end of a Dutchman's breeches flower last week , and haven't gotten around to posting it yet. Unlike your spider, though, mine wasn't actually dining.

I guess we know why the spider's white, then, eh? Interesting niche.

Rebecca Clayton said...

This species comes in a variety of colors and markings, depending on its floral home. I've read, though I've never observed it, that individuals can change color, albeit much more slowly than chameleons.